Diamond Reunion- Kamps, Rearick and Ament 1976

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goatboy smellz

climber
colorado
Jan 9, 2008 - 11:47am PT
It may be small Oli but it packs a punch of great routes.


Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2008 - 07:39pm PT
A pleasure to hear the history Oli and to have come across the original article. How often did you get out with Rearick?
WallMan

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Jan 10, 2008 - 03:13pm PT
Thanks for sharing this great experience Pat. Over the Hill is one of Eldo's best 5.10s. My next time on the route will be more rewarding for me because of what you shared.

Climb on my friend. Wally
stich

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Jan 10, 2008 - 07:45pm PT
Over the Hill is an awesome route, and quite the experience in thin, smearing stemming. Whew!
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 10, 2008 - 07:52pm PT
Nice thread,
Can one of y'all put an arrow on the pic to show where Over The Hill is?
Thanks,
Zander
goatboy smellz

climber
colorado
Jan 11, 2008 - 09:43am PT
Here ya go Zander.
The start is the right dihedral in my first photo.



and Rossiter's topo.


Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 11, 2008 - 07:41pm PT
As for my climbing with Rearick. He was, of course, one of my great original teachers and inspirations. First Kor, then Rearick. Kamps and Rearick were my heroes when they climbed the Diamond, when I was a kid. I was in such awe of their adventure, and to think of it even today gives me a chill of joy and deep appreciation. I never imagined I could become a friend to both of those two great men.

I was taken by Dave's methodical approach, very thoughtful and slow, compared to Layton who would storm up the rock, often sailing upward so fast he was suddenly beyond what he was able to climb and sailing downward. Kor was an excellent free climber but didn't much like thinking about moves. If he couldn't do something instantly it was time for fast aid. Rearick would look at an aid pitch as though at a chess problem and wonder if it could go free. In 1964 Rearick led Coffin Crack, in Boulder Canyon, still a formidable, overhanging crack, all of 5.11 by today's standards. He and I did a great deal of clmbing together through the years. In relatively "old age," he even followed me up the Crack of Fear and did it all free but one move.

I'll never forget first seeing Rearick. I was climbing the West Buttress of the Bastille and looked across the canyon, as he appeared up and over the big overhang at the start of T-2. In his brown wind pants and checkered flannel shirt, and Zillertals... That was the first free ascent of T-2. He was using a thick white Colombian rope, which he and I used until he finally decided it might not be any good anymore. I think he still has it. He has remained a mentor and a friend, one of the most humble climbers I've ever known. I hope one day he is recognized for being the great pioneer climber and rock master he was. In my opinion he has been overlooked to some degree, in terms of the real free climbing geniuses of the gold age.

In the early 1960s Dave led the first free ascent of the third pitch of Athlete's Feat, a tricky, strenuous 5.10, overhanging lieback-jam crack. Near the top, with a manky bong in the crack half way between him and me, his foot slipped on some lichen, and he flew head first toward me and toward the ledge I was standing on. I sucked as much rope as possible, and somehow stopped him with his head about two inches from hitting the ledge. I think I might have called it quits for the day, as would most, but he said calmly, "If I don't go back up I'll get a mental block." With all the strength of character that has always characterized him, he led right back up and, facing that same slippery move, proceded on through successfully (a sigh of relief on my part).

One could write a book of Rearick stories. By the way, on Over the Hill that day, both Kamps and Rearick (in their relative old age) walked easily right over the 5.10 moves, not a wince.
scuffy b

climber
Stump with a backrest
Jan 11, 2008 - 07:46pm PT
Is that topo missing a few numbers?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 11, 2008 - 08:00pm PT
c'mon scuff, you have to read between the lines.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 11, 2008 - 08:49pm PT
Thanks again Oli and please do tell more stories if they come to mind. What was the longest route you did with Dave? Did he ever climb the Diamond again with anyone?

I always enjoy a crafty route myself!
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 12, 2008 - 03:33am PT
Dave never did do the Diamond again, though we talked about it a few times. I suppose the longest climb he and I did together might have been 700 feet, because we were more into the short free climbs. We climbed dozens of routes together in Eldorado, Yellow Spur, T-2, Super Slab, many of the classics... and lots of routes in Boulder Canyon. We did a lot of hiking and rambling. We climbed in the desert a little... One day he took me to Button Rock, a little granite dome about a ten mile walk into no-man's-land somewhere between Lyons and Estes Park. We scrambled to the summit in a blizzard... He was a great cyclist and once rode from Boulder south to Golden, then west and over Berthoud Pass to Winter Park, then north to Grandby and Grand Lake, and over Trail Ridge Road down to Estes, and finally back to Boulder... in a day. I'm not sure I could drive that in a day. He is quite the clever man, in his heyday a fine classical guitarist. Of course he made those wooden nuts, which he called "plugs." I have a full set, including the infamous "clapper," for wide cracks, and one I've never used and never will use, because I value it as a keepsake symbol of our friendship. It's a perfectly round osage orange plug, about the size of a baseball, with holes he threaded with sling. Rearick is retired now from his profession as a math professor at Colorado University. He told me his Diamond climb helped him get that job. The head of the department had followed the accounts of the Diamond climb and was impressed to meet him. Rearick had lived in California prior to that and climbed quite a bit with Robbins... in Yosemite and at Tahquitz. He and Royal made one of the early ascents of Half Dome's NW face. That was when Royal chimneyed up behind Psyche Flake and said, to console Rearick, "Think of all the years ice has been pressing against this flake. No two mere mortals will disturb its presence." The flake fell off, apparently under its own power a short time after. Dave and Bob Kamps made an early ascent of Sentinel also, via the Steck-Salathe. He led Split Pinnacle Lieback, probably the second 5.10 in Yosemite. I once climbed Crack of Doom with Rearick and Robbins... His sister Martha, a wonderful person and excellent classical flute player, recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. The hermit Rearick hangs in there, in Boulder, though he has arthritis and has difficulty riding his bike anymore because of the pain in his shoulders...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 12, 2008 - 08:15pm PT
The metaphorical Psyche Flake! I love that bit of Half Dome history.
Do you remember any details of his FFA of the airy T2?
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 14, 2008 - 12:37am PT
Rearick led T-2 in straightforward fashion, pretty steep, difficult climbing for the day, and all free but the initial overhang. On that first pitch, Kor had started to the right of where the route now goes, at the overhang where there is a stone to start off of, and used a point or two of aid, one of those being a bolt. He then traversed 25-30 feet left, above the lip of the overhang, and went up. Rearick used that same aid and traversed left but noticed some holds down below his feet near the left end of the traverse. So he decided to investigate. There seemed to be holds on the overhang below. He leaned down, partly hanging against the rope or something, to fix a bolt for protection, then returned to the ground. At that time, there was a spike of rock sticking out of the talus, and one could stand on top of it, with balance, and reach the overhang. There were some holds, and he swung free with his feet, pulled up, clipped the bolt, and moved on upward free. That was good solid 5.10+, but I think he rated it 5.9. Not too long after, someone did the route free from the ground, without standing on the spike. I'd have to look in my journals and guides to recall, but that might have been Rearick. Or possibly me. Then an important hold broke off, making it a tiny bit harder. Then someone leaned out and stripped the hanger off the bolt. I think that was Dan Davis, who climbed up, clipped into the hanger, then grabbed the doubled rope and leaned out to look at the rock above. Suddenly the hanger popped off, and by a miracle he jumped into the talus upright and was unhurt. I was standing there and saw that happen. Later someone, maybe I, found a place to put a small angle piton in a hole, to replace the bolt. The talus spike got knocked over by someone, or was maliciously destroyed (who knows?), and we always then did the starting overhang from the ground. I later personally worked out several variations between the Rearick line and the Kor line, and finally we realized the Kor line went free pretty readily also. I may have done that free with Henry Barber. So much of what we did in Eldorado or in Boulder Canyon had the inspiration of Rearick behind it...
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jan 14, 2008 - 09:30am PT
He was using a thick white Colombian rope

There's one of these, I think, still being used to hang up ladders and such on the walls of my Dad's garage. As I recall, Columbia ropes (if that's what Oli refers to) were a white, goldline competitor, 7/16" thick and supposedly made for climbing. They were noticeably less stiff than goldline.

Holubar sold these white ropes back in the 60s. My Dad had carried his for safety on scrambles in the Rockies, although he was not into technical climbing. I appropriated his rope for my own escapades as a teenager, shortly after my first bad experience trying to use a nylon clothesline as a belay and rappel rope convinced me that I needed something better.
Oli

Trad climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jan 16, 2008 - 02:23am PT
Just thinking about that rope, and those early ropes, and I conjure their smell, which in turn brings all sorts of the best memories of my life, discovering climbing, going up into the rocks above Boulder as a kid... meeting Kor and Rearick and Robbins... It was like a young artist falling into the company of Rembrandt, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2008 - 02:15am PT
Fortunately, I never had to deal with twisted ropes very often, nylon or otherwise. I do have an association with the smell of hot sisal though.
Way back, I was rapelling on 1/4" using a thick cotton moving strap in an eight seat to take the heat. I had no biners. About fifteen feet above the ground I elected to test one of those prussik knots that I had just read about in Bergsteigen. The three wrap prussik was made of the same trusty sisal and tied properly into my seat sling.
Without a thought, I confidently let go. I watched the knot come tight and then fly away as I suddenly hit the ground. The trusty prussik had snapped. I came away with a big gash on my chin and a good dose of caution. It didn't take much persuation to get my father, Maurice, to buy me some proper equipment once I made the horrid suggestion that my young, foolish life might hang in the balance.
The smell of burnt sisal still lingers......
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 7, 2008 - 05:08pm PT
Pat and all,

Super thread. If this one doesn't make clear the importance of character and history in climbing, and our memory and writing about same, nothing does. Climbing has its feats and topos and ratings, but these are so much fluff next to strong stories revealing inner worlds. And unless we think, feel and write, delve into the faces, motives, strength and flaws, much is lost.

Thank you Pat for telling the tales so well, and keeping the flame on what it all means. And thanks to all for asking the revealing questions and wondering and wandering back in time, and sharing the personal side. Without it, the sport is ... just sport.


Tom Higgins
LongAgo

PS: Over the Hill is one of my most favorite Eldorado climbs.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2008 - 01:44am PT
Tom, did you ever climb with Pat on his home turf?
LongAgo

Trad climber
Aug 11, 2008 - 07:00pm PT
Steve,

Yes, Pat and I climbed many established routes together in Eldorado Canyon, including Over the Hill, and one funny little FA called "Soarks" on the Flatirons. Somewhere on Supertopo there's a story of that climb complete with Pat placing a bolt with a rock for the hammer ...

I also climbed in Eldorado and Estes with Bob Kamps, Mike Cohen and others.

Tom
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 12, 2008 - 12:11am PT
Were you as into bouldering as Pat during those visits to Colorado?
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